Cooks County’s California Beer and Food Festival (8/6-9/24)

beer fest posterLast Tuesday kicked off the first in a series of beer dinners hosted by Chef/Owner Daniel Mattern of Cooks County. The series, which will take place every Tuesday thru September 24th, were designed to highlight high-quality California beers with thoughtful food pairings. I had the good fortune of making it to the festival’s launch which featured the Rancho Santa Margarita-based Cismontane Brewing Company with Head Brewer Evan Weinberg in attendance. The intimate mid-city restaurant was jam packed by the time we made it in for our 8:30 reservations, so we advise you to plan ahead if you’re planning on checking any of these events out.

The beer-centric meal consisted of five courses paired with five beers. Chef Daniel had mentioned that he had made it a point to actually visit the breweries featured in the series to get a better understanding of how to properly plan his menu. I’ve gone to many beer dinners over the years, and this one was definitely a hit from start to finish.

Here’s a re-cap from their first event:
First Course: “Mesa” Cured Salmon Roe
Chef Daniel takes a classic and adorns a buckwheat blini with cream, chive, and delicate salmon roe to create a refreshing first bite. Paired with Cismontane’s Mesa (75% Pilsner, 25% Riesling wine), the beer’s light sweetness compliments the blini’s clean impression on the palate.

Second Course: Beer-Battered “Fish Fries”
This sharable fried appetizer is no stranger to the average pub menu, but in Cooks County’s version we see thinner, finger-like pieces of fish battered in Cismontane’s (uncommon) version of a California Common. The Citizen’s adequate burst of hops lends this amber-colored brew just enough bite to cut through the fried fish.

Third Course:White Shrimp & Melon Salad
Smokey shrimp, pickled greens, and ripe honeydew melon balanced well in this texturally pleasing dish. The salad was dressed in a pickled chili and “sour grass” vinaigrette which paired well with Oxalis– Cismontane’s sour blond ale.

Fourth Course: Ale-soaked Rabbit Leg & Rilletes Toast
This was definitely one of my favorite dishes of the night. Fall-of-the-bone tender rabbit leg soaked in ale atop a bed of braised French lentils and pounded herbs. The meat was lean, well-seasoned, and not at all gamey while the lentils provided a rich backbone for the Coulter IPA to wash over. A solid dish for a solid IPA.

Fifth Course: Beeramisu
It’s Tiramisu…but with beer! And my, must I tell you that this was the clincher for our table (and many others). Layers of creamy, chocolatey, coffee-infused goodness with trickles of Cismontane’s Black’s Dawn Imperial Stout. Delicate mascarpone cream helped this pairing stay balanced and not too heavy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The price of the dinners will range from $45 to $50 and reservations are strongly recommended. Check out the rest of the California Beer and Food Festival schedule here:

8/13 Craftsman Brewing Co., Pasadena, CA
8/20 The Bruery, Placentia, CA
8/27 Eagle Rock Brewery, LA, CA
9/10 Almanac Beer Co., San Francisco, CA
9/17 Strand Brewing Co., Torrance, CA
9/24 Ladyface Ale Companie, Agoura Hills, CA

Cooks County is located at Cooks County 8009 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, California. | | #cabeerandfoodfest

Leave a Reply